By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
A mobile game sensation has taken over the Laguna Madre this week as dozens of players have been seen congregating around local landmarks eager trying to find pint sized digital monsters.
The game is Pokémon Go, an augmented reality video game that combines real-world maps and landmarks to create a nearly limitless gaming universe. From the Port Isabel Lighthouse to Wanna-Wannas, players can be seen all across the region trying to catch rare Pokémon, collecting virtual items at Pokéstops, or challenging other players at Pokémon gyms.
The 20 year old game franchise released this new iteration just last week, which has somewhat unexpectedly drawn the interest of longtime Pokémon fans, hardcore gamers and casual players of all ages. But if you want to check it out yourself, there are a few tips you should know before you head out the door. So, put on your walking shoes, take a look at the tips below, and “catch ‘em all!”
How far do you need to walk?
At the bottom right of the play screen, you’ll see between 1-3 Pokémon that are nearby. Tapping on the icon will bring up a box like the one to the left.
Up to nine nearby Pokémon will be shown, with pawprints underneath. Each pawprint represents about 100 yards. A Pokémon with one paw print will be about 100 yards away, one with three will be 300 yards away. If a Pokémon has no pawprints underneath, then stay sharp, because it could appear around you at any second.
Also keep a look out for fluttering blades of grass appearing on the map, because that indicates where the nearby Pokémon may be hiding.
To augment or not?
One of the more interesting features of the game is the ability to hunt and capture Pokémon with the real world as your backdrop, such as the image to the left showing a Zubat flying around the historic Port Isabel Lighthouse. This feature is known as “augmented reality” (AR) and makes use of your phone’s camera in order to work.
However, capturing Pokémon can be more difficult with AR turned on. If you’re having trouble snagging your favorite characters, try turning AR off. You can do this easily by tapping the AR button at the top right of the screen, as shown in this image of a Horsea to the right.
Getting more bang for your buck
Areas with many historical or cultural landmarks, such as Lighthouse Square shown above, will likely have multiple Pokéstops and gyms and become natural places for players to gather. Pokéstops that have confetti raining down from them have been equipped with lures which draw Pokémon out of hiding. Look for these in order to quickly fill up your Pokédex.
Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.